Of all the states I’ve been to the language of Arkansanese may be the most difficult to understand.
My grandpa (Papa) used to collect cypress knees from the bayou outside of New Orleans. These knees and trees however are adjacent to a golf course in Arkansas.
I rode North a bit. I wanted to head toward the Ozark Mountains. I ended up staying in Jacksonport State Park along the White River.
It sure looked like a nice spot, but damn the mosquitos here are numerous and aggressive. The vestibule of my tent that I had been so proud of in previous posts turned out to be a refuge for these evil winged blood suckers. Live and learn. The extra tarp is not always a good thing.
In the morning I met Tony, the park caretaker. He is a burly fella with one of my favorite words tattooed on his forearm, integrity. I find it amazing how so many bikers don’t know Triumph has been back in business for over a decade. They all think my bike is an old classic. Not complaining, it makes for many a conversation starter. Anyway, Tony told me he could sneak me up into the tower of the old courthouse if I could pack up and be there before 11:30 when he takes lunch. I was late, but thanks for the offer.
So I crossed the river and moved on.
I had a peak at some abandoned old building. I can’t help myself.
Now I was getting into the Ozark Mountains where the roads are rolling and twisty. It’s a fun ride. Every once in a while you come across and old forgotten town like this one. I really dig these places with the elevated sidewalks which I assume date back to the time when Main Street was a dirt road and the town was bustling. Not anymore. Not one of the business were open. It’s pretty much a ghost town.
I continued zipping along these curvy roads of the Ozarks. I must have ridden 50 miles without catching up to another car. That’s the big difference between here and the east coast mountains. Inevitably you catch up with a big ass camper that takes the fun out of the ride. Not here. It’s clean sailing. As I finally entered another town, I saw this old diner on someone’s property.
As I was taking the photo and old man popped out of his trailer. He waved and said, “Why don’t you come over for a talk?” I said, “Sure, why not.” Meet Grady.
His family has been here since 1956. They used to own 12 acres, but between his siblings he is left with an acre and a half and now he is the only one still living. Grady offered me a beer and we sat a talked about all sorts of things for a while. He’s a real nice old guy. So if you ever pass through Dover, AR on route 14 and you see this diner form the 30’s, stop by and tell Grady Pat from NYC sent you. I am sure he’d appreciate the company.
I rode north into Jasper, AR.
From there I rode down a 5 mile dirt road to camp out for the night.
It was here that I saw my first live armadillo. I have seen many dead ones on the side of the road but never a live on. They are one of the most peculiar looking creatures. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get my camera out before he scrurried off into the woods. So here is a shot off the internet just to give you a look.
The last time I was in Arkansas I was waiting in a line for something when I asked if it was uncommon to see a live armadillo. I said I only see dead ones on the side of the road. A guy behind my said, “Why did the chicken cross the road….to show the armadillo how it’s done.”
Then that night I was able to see a clear starry sky. After so many cloudy days it was a magnificent sight. And, I finally figured out how to get a picture of it. I am still learning about manual setting and such. But here is what I got.
Another neat thing down this 5 mile dirt road was an old homestead. Usually the ones you see have been moved to a more convenient location. This one sits as it was.
The walls inside were lined with old newspaper. I have seen this before in old ghost towns.
It’s cool to check out the details of these papers dating back to the turn of the century.
Here is one with the date. October 1907.
Dirt roads scare me a little. It’s just that I am concerned about my tires. A flat would be a huge problem for me as I am not prepared to fix it myself. But I made it out OK.
I decided to shave my whiskers off for the first time in 5 years. I’ll be growing them right back I think.
I was surprised to find this beautiful Norton Commando parked in this small old town.
I’ll leave you with a few more shots along the way to Oklahoma. I have to make more miles.